Selecting a Lender

cropped-JD-Picture-1.jpg JD Signature Logo Green

Selecting a Lender


Your Realtor will be helpful in selecting a mortgage lender that best fits your needs.  His experience with various lenders will assure you of finding a mortgage professional that will know how to move the process from application to closing.

What’s Important

It’s important to check the rates of at least three lenders and interview all of them to make sure they are a good fit and will work hard for you during the buying process and will be responsive to your calls and emails.  You want a lender that is a problem solver and not a product pusher.

Red Flags

A lender that does not walk you through the entire process and is slow to return your calls is a lender you need to fire immediately.  If you are not a priority for him, your loan may be delayed thus delaying your closing.

Action Items

Interview at least three lenders and ask them to pre-qualify you for a mortgage.  During the interview, be sure to use the checklist provided.


  • The lender selected was professional and represented a reputable company.
  • I liked his personality and feel like we are a good fit and he has my best interest at heart.
  • My lender is a good communicator.
  • He walked me through the entire mortgage process and help me set expectations.
  • He disclosed all fees and cost upfront.
  • He is responsive to my calls and emails and I feel like my loan will be a priority.
  • My lender takes time to answer all my questions.
  • My lender knows my Realtor and they have worked together on other transactions.
  • He is high on technology and lots of our work together can be handled online.

Links To Additional Resources

Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.

BB&T Home Mortgage

Wells Fargo Mortgage

A Team of Professionals

cropped-JD-Picture-1.jpg               JD Signature Logo Green

The purchase of a home requires a team of professionals who are dedicated to making your purchase as easy and stress free as possible.  If you were to organize your group of professionals like a football team, you would be the team owner and your Realtor would be the head coach.

What’s Important

My experience has proven that your team should consist of the following professionals:


The Realtor will play the most important role in helping you purchase a home.  The Realtors job is:

  • To help you find the right home in the right neighborhood.
  • To help you formulate an offering price by providing you with comparable sales.
  • To write and offer and present it to the sellers or sellers agent.
  • To negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal on your purchase.
  • To coordinate with all the other team members so you will have a successful home buying experience.

Mortgage Lender

An experienced Realtor will recommend you contact a mortgage lender at the beginning of the process.  It would be best to do so even before viewing homes.  The lender will pre-qualify you for a loan amount which will be helpful in determining which homes you should consider.  There is no reason to view homes that you are not qualified to purchase.

Home Inspector

Never buy a home without having a professional home inspection.  This inspection will save you money and heartache in the future.  The home inspectors in most states are licensed professional who will give you a report describing the condition of the home before you buy it.

Chapter XX gives more information on home inspections.

Insurance Agent

A homeowner should always have an insurance agent familiar with the area in which your property is located.  A good agent will evaluate your needs and suggest coverage to protect you and your family.

Insurance is cover in more detail in Chapter XX

Attorney or Closing Agent

An attorney, title company or closing agent will be needed to prepare all the legal documents required to obtain your loan and deed the seller’s property to you.  The attorney will research the chain of title and make sure there are no judgements or liens against the seller’s property.  His job is to make sure you are getting a deed free and clear of all encumbrances.


A good source of qualified tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians, general repairmen, and heating and air professionals will be used to prepare estimates to determine the cost of any repair request you might make because of the issues found during the home inspection.  They will also be valuable after you purchase your home.

What You Need To Know About Insurance & Real Estate

cropped-JD-Picture-1.jpg  JD Signature Logo Green  252-333-0939


Insurance is a necessary evil, and you really don’t appreciate its value until you have to use it.  It is important that you select an agent who is experienced in writing insurance policies in your area.  Homeowners insurance is required if you have a mortgage and in designated flood plains, flood insurance is required too.  There are other coverages listed that should be considered when purchasing a home but are not required.

What’s Important


There are seven forms of homeowners insurance policies that have been standardized by the insurance industry.  The  best policy is the HO-3 Homeowners policy.  This policy provides coverage for your home, your contents, additional structures, and liability coverage for bodily injury to others while on your property.  An HO-3 policy provides protection from all risk unless the risk is specifically excluded by the policy.  It is important for an experienced agent to discuss which form of coverage will best suit your needs.

Flood Insurance

Water that falls and damages your property is covered by a standard homeowners policy.  Rising water is not covered under a homeowners policy, and flood insurance has to be purchased to insure against this named peril.

FEMA has drawn national flood maps to designate flood zones.

Private mortgage insurance

This insurance does not protect you but protects the lender.  Better known as PMI, this insurance protects the lender if you were to stop making your payments.  PMI is usually required if your down payment is less than 20%.

Scheduled Personal Property Rider

A scheduled personal property rider is an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy that goes beyond the normal limits of coverage provided by a standard homeowners.  Scheduled Personal Property Riders usually extend coverage limits for jewelry, guns, fine arts and antiques.

Home Warranty

It is always a good idea to purchase a home warranty if you are purchasing any home that is not considered new construction.  A home warranty protects you from the high cost of unexpected failures to the major systems and appliances in your home such as heating and air condition, kitchen appliances, hot water heater, washer, and dryers.  A home warranty will repair or replace covered items that break down due to normal wear and tear.  Homeowners insurance does not cover items covered by a typical home warranty.

Links are provided for two home warranty companies that will provide you with coverage explanations and price quotes.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is important when purchasing a home.  The benefits from a life insurance policy can be used to pay off the mortgage and provide your family with a mortgage-free home at the death of an insured.  There are many types of life insurance policies, and you should have an experienced life insurance agent discuss the benefits of each type.

Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance is often called income protection insurance.  If you were to become disabled and can’t work, disability insurance would provide income for you.  This is important coverage and will help a homeowner make mortgage payments.

Long Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance helps pay for the cost of care that is extended and usually not paid by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.  Nursing home stays could wipe out the financial resources of a homeowner, and long-term care insurance can protect your assets.

Do you know what type of agent you are working with?


Working With Real Estate Agents


A real estate agent can work for you in basically one of three ways.  The type of agent you work with is determined by the agency relationship you establish with the agent.  Until you establish an agency relationship, you are a customer and the agent does not have a fiduciary duty to you.

What’s Important
In most real estate transactions, there are usually two real estate agents involved.  The agent with the sign in the front yard is a Seller’s Agent.  It is beneficial for you as a buyer to have your own agent, known as a Buyer’s Agent.  When there is only one agent involved, the agent is called a Dual Agent and is a situation you want to avoid if possible.
Seller’s Agent

A Seller’s Agent is also known as the Listing Agent.  This is the agent who listed the property for sale, places the important information and pictures in the Multiple Listing Service and usually has his sign in the yard.  A Seller’s Agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller.  This means that the listing agent is legally bound to represent the seller’s best interest in all negotiations at all times.  A Seller’s Agent is obligated to get the best price, at the best terms with as little stress as possible for the seller.

Buyer’s Agent

A Buyer’s Agent is employed by a home buyer to work in their best interest during the home buying process.  The buyer’s agent is obligated to help the buyer find a suitable home and purchase this home at the best price and terms possible.  The buyer’s agent will advise the seller on comparable properties and guide the buyer in determining the asking price.  The buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller and is legally bound to represent the buyer’s best interest at all times.

Dual Agent

A Dual Agent is basically a transaction coordinator representing both parties in the same real estate transaction.  This relationship allows the real estate agent to provide a limited fiduciary duty to both the buyer and seller.  This type of agency can sometimes cause a conflict of interest and both the buyer and seller must give their informed consent.

cropped-JD-Picture-1.jpgJD Signature Logo Green

John T. Dowd     252-333-0939

What I love about being a Realtor in Edenton, NC

20161011-ks2x2917-e-e       Signuture logo

After years of raising my children and operating a family business, I decided to get my real estate licenses. I am a Realtor in Edenton, NC and I have always loved going to homearamas and seeing the new homes. These tour of homes allowed me to see the newest colors, styles, and lots of great ideas for redoing homes.

  1. One of my first reasons for becoming an agent is the chance to meet so many different people in this career.  I have met people from all over the US and even have clients from England.  They all have interesting personal stories to tell you and you learn so much about your clients when working with them. It’s also rewarding to tell my clients all about  Edenton, the town I grew up in.
  2. Being an agent you have the flexibility of setting your own schedule. You can decide if you want to go to the office every day and how many hours you want to work a day.  I go to the office most days and some of my days are long, but rewarding.   You can set your own schedule when working with clients. I have learned that being a good agent you must be available 24/7 to answer questions for your clients and availability
  3. You never worry about being fired because you really work for yourself. You are your own boss so if you don’t work hard you don’t get paid. Being a good agent you get out of it what you put into it.
  4. Every day you learn new things in this business. Just in the 10 years I have been in real estate, technology has become a big part of our business.  Between setting up your personal and company web sites, Facebook, blogging, Youtube and our update classes you stay busy trying to stay informed.
  5. The most rewarding aspect is when I find my buyers the perfect house in Edenton, NC.  Their excitement makes you feel you have completed your job.  It really doesn’t stop after the purchase.  Many times you form friendships for life.

I love being an agent and I love all my clients I have worked with through the years. Most of all I have the flexibility of also enjoying my family life.  If you are wanting to buy or sell give me a call so I can find you your perfect home in beautiful Edenton , NC .

My contact information , 252-339-7015


House Hunting Adventures

20161011-ks2x2944-e-e    Brian Fitzsimons, Broker

House Hunting adventures I always smile when I hear the term ‘House Hunting’. In NE NC, the hunting method involves building a stand at the edge of the woods and waiting for an unsuspecting deer to wander by. So I wonder if House Hunting should involve building a stand somewhere and waiting for a suitable property to stroll by?


I have a feeling that a more aggressive approach is needed when hunting for a new home. One of the first problems is deciding on exactly what sort of home we will be hunting. As we all know, different prey frequents different habitats, and to find the right house we need to be hunting in the right area. This is how a good Real Estate agent will save you lots of time. I always try and get to know my hunters before we go out into the woods. I ask questions about their lifestyle, the members of the household, hobbies, the need for schools, church affiliation, shopping likes and dislikes, what they have now and what they like about it and don’t like about it. By having this conversation before heading out, I get a feel for the sort of house they are looking for, so have a good idea where we might find one that will suit them. As a result of living in my area for many years and having taken part in previous successful hunts, I can guide my hunters past areas that will not have the sort of house they are looking for and zero in on the areas where the possibility of bagging a trophy is very high. This will shorten the process and remove a lot of the frustration and fatigue involved in hunting. Having found an area with lots of potential game, the next phase will be stalking and taking shots at the chosen property, by making an offer. This is another area where your agent will be able to assist by helping aim the offer at a spot that will result in a kill. Often the first shot only wounds, resulting in a counter offer, so it may be necessary to follow up with another offer to achieve success. Having bagged your prey, all you have to do is get it out of the woods and dressed, ready to put in the freezer and enjoy for the next year. In House Hunting, this part is where the banks and the attorneys get involved to consummate the deal. Unlike real hunting, House Hunting comes with a ‘due diligence’ period when you can do some investigation of the property you have bagged to make sure that it doesn’t have any hidden problems that you don’t want to take on. If you find anything like that, you can withdraw your offer and continue with the hunt. Once you get past that stage, everything should be problem free and you should soon close and get the keys to your new home. During the wait, you can start planning any renovations you intend to make and get organized for the physical move. Before long you will have moved and be settling in to your new neighborhood, meeting your neighbors and getting familiar with your new environment. This whole process is challenging, exciting, worrying, tiring but extremely fulfilling and is one that I take great pleasure in sharing in with all my House Hunters. If you are planning on a House Hunt in the near future, I would be honored to be your property scout.

For all current Listings:

Brian FitzSimons : 252-312-9042

Brian @



Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While Away


20161011-ks2x2868-e-e    For All Your Real Estate Needs:
signature-logo-0001      Phone:  252-370-2381

Tips to Keep your Home Safe while away



Communicate- Be sure to visit your next-door neighbors and let them know of your plans. Share with them when you are leaving and when you will return.  Make sure they have an emergency contact phone number for you or how to get in contact.  Having a trusted set of eyes watching your home while you are away can add a lot of peace of mind.


Protect Premises- Studies show that 30% of home break-ins are made by forced entry and 70% occur through existing openings. It is very important before you leave your home, you check and double-check all windows and doors, making sure they are all locked and secured.  A security system is a great addition but must always be engaged and checked regularly for accuracy.


Social Media- We all enjoy social media, sharing our activities and photos with our family and friends. What we must never forget is the fact that dishonest people and criminals are using social media too.  When they see you are on vacation or out of town and you are posting pictures, it gives them a free pass to break-in to your home and invades your space.


Bright Lights- You may not want to think about the extra cost of burning electricity while you are out of town, but having your home well lighted while you are gone. Something as simple as putting a few lamps on timers to come on in the evening or maybe having a computer program where you can control lights remotely may deter a potential thief from breaking into your home.



When preparing your home for sale, how important is “curb appeal”?

First impressions stick hard…especially when it comes to visuals….and drive-by lookers are not the only ones you need to impress.  With today’s technology and online shoppers, the cover photo/main view of your property can send prospective buyers away or encourage them to view the next page.

terry1   Tools You Will Need

For those of you planning to list your home this fall or already have it on the market, now is the time to plant and refurbish.  Below are several tips to improve your curb appeal:

Seasonal Flowers    terry2
  • Plant seasonal flowers to add color
  • Fill in with evergreens to offset those losing leaves for the winter
  • Add mulch or stones to finish off the beds
  • Plant winter rye to keep yard looking green
  Keep Yard Clean                    terry3
  • Keep your yard clean…free of leaves and other debris
  • Fill in dirt driveways with gravel or oyster shells for a cleaner look
  • Add a border to the driveway
  • Remove any clutter from around the home or on the porch
  • Power wash your home to give it a fresh clean look
  • Position potted plants on front porch or entrance steps for a welcoming feel
terry4     Welcoming Porch

And remember, if a buyer’s first view of your home puts a smile on his face, you are already ahead of the game.

For all your real estate needs, Call Terry Waff, Broker

terrys-mug-4     img_2291


We Were Captured By Her Professionalism

October 21, 2016

It is with great pleasure that we write this testimonial for Terry Waff with United Country Real Estate, highly recommending her real estate services.

As we began our journey of searching for a home in the Edenton, NC area, Terry was the very first Realtor, and ended up being the only realtor, that we contacted for viewing a home we had seen in the historic Mill Village while on one of our many visits to the area.  We were captured from that point forward by her professionalism, pleasant manner, and knowledge of the Edenton area.

Over the course of several months, Terry remained patient and vigilant in helping us to find the right home to suit our needs.  She offered expert advice throughout the entire process and illustrated a great understanding of contract details, negotiation etiquette, and documentation.

Thank you, Terry!  We are truly grateful for everything you did for us and look forward to many years of being an Edenton resident.  We found our dream retirement home and couldn’t be happier!

We would highly recommend Terry to represent any buyer or seller transaction in the Edenton real estate world.

Jim and Jean Timberlake

Terry's mug 4    img_2291

Call:  252-337-4496